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8 March, at 06 : 07 AM Print
Mobile phone penetration is rural Rwanda has been the fastest in the region
Before 2011 had begun, telecom companies expected to have some 3.73million subscribers to their networks. But by December, the combined mobile phone penetration had jumped by more than 19 percent of the target, according to latest figures.
Rwanda Utilities Regulatory Agency (RURA) data shows that as of December last year, some 4,438,700 were using mobile phones. In other words, in a single year, telecoms added a total of more than 700,000 Rwandans to their networks.
The bad news however, is that the number of subscribers on fixed network decreased 2 percent in December 2011 to 38,901 from 39,664 in December 2010. This probably means that many people are abandoning the fixed systems for the latest gadgets.
As the situation stands now, mobile penetration in Rwanda has reached 41.6 percent in December from 40.2 percent in September the same year.
Currently, the country is being served by two telecoms: MTN Rwanda and TiGO Rwanda. Rwandatel was stripped of its mobile licence in April last year after it failed to meet contractual obligations.
There are just two firms, and the numbers are going up. What could be influencing the changes? Industry regulator RURA attributes the good number to a price war between the two fierce competitors.
MTN Rwanda still leads the mobile segment with a 65 percent share of the market followed by Tigo with 35 percent. However, the market share of MTN has been decreasing for the past three quarters in favour of Tigo.
In terms of calling rates, the report indicates that Tigo is the cheapest for international calls when looking at the highest foreign call rate. However, MTN emerges as the cheapest when considering the average tariff for all international destinations.
Following the recent interconnection rates review by RURA, MTN has reduced its retail off-net tariff from RWF 90 to RWF 60 per minute for prepaid customers, and from RWF 126 to RWF 60 for post-paid customer.
These represent a 33 percent and a 52 percent reduction for prepaid and post-paid customers respectively. Tigo is still the cheapest for on-net SMS in terms of both normal tariffs and promotional ones (RWF 10 for MTN and RWF 3 for Tigo).